[Question #62] HSV 2 from protected vaginal sex

39 months ago
I have read quite a bit of information but I'm still having a bit of a difficult time processing if I was at significant risk or not. Yesterday I had protected vaginal sex (twice) with a sex worker. She said she does not have herpes and never had any signs of it. Assuming ahe did have herpes what is the percentage of infection from an infected women to an uninflected man while having an intact condom?
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
39 months ago
Good morning and thanks for your question.
The statistics that we have gathered about transmission of herpes has mostly to do with couples we have studied where one person had herpes and the other did not.  We kept track of frequency of intercourse, whether condoms were used, how often condoms were used, if the infected person took daily antiviral therapy or not.  Your situation is not exactly like that but not totally dissimilar.  In that study, having sex twice a week with intermittent condom use, the transmission rate was about 2-4% per year, with lower transmission risk using condoms all the time.  Because 80% of those infected with HSV 2 don't know they are infected, asking someone if they have herpes isn't very useful honestly. 
Given all of that, two intercourse encounters with a sex worker with condom use is, in my opinion, really low risk for transmission - not zero but very close to that.  I can't give you an exact percentage because we don't know fi she is really infected or not and I suspect we don't know for certain if you already had herpes or not, is that correct (a negative antibody test for HSV 2?).  You certainly did the correct thing in using a condom - good for you.  I would just keep watch for 2-10 days and in the absence of development of any symptoms, I would say this is not something you need to keep worrying about.  Please let me know if you have other questions.

Terri
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39 months ago
In thinking about hsv I have begun to feel tingling in my penis, im assuming it's in my head. I recently read in post from dr handsfield in 2010 that the tingling is something experienced in recurring herpes and not initial outbreaks...is this true?
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
39 months ago
Hard to know what the tingling is about really - could just be worry.  Be aware of any symptoms such as blisters or breaks in the skin.  I am guessing that new infection is also accompanied by nerve sensation also, but people don't realize it is happening because they aren't thinking herpes, perhaps? 

Terri
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